Let's say you're a 75 year old woman who grew up in Harlem. And that you're a lung cancer survivor. Now let's say you want to ski to the north pole. Only you've never skied, and you don't have the thousands of dollars it's going to take to pay a tour operator to take you there.
What are the odds you'll actually do it? If you're Barbara Hillary, they're pretty good.
Hillary, of Averne, N.Y., grew up in Harlem and devoted herself to a nursing career and community activism. At 67, she battled lung cancer. Five years later, she went dog sledding in Quebec and photographed polar bears in Manitoba.
Then she heard that a black woman had never made it to the North Pole.
"I said, 'What's wrong with this picture?"' she said. "So I sort of rolled into this, shall we say."
I love a good "success against the odds" story. I love it even better when the main character succeeds because they just can't be bothered to say, "it can't be done." They're too busy making it happen. That fits Hillary's pursuit of her North Pole dream to a T.
Overcome lung cancer? Check.
Too old? Ha!
Fitness concerns? Hire a personal trainer.
Can't ski? Take lessons.
Don't have the money you need? Get private donors to sponsor you.
With her quest for the North Pole complete, Hillary is focusing on other adventures:
Hillary says she hopes her journey will inspire hope in other cancer survivors. She is already planning a new adventure: that of a global-warming activist.
"I'd like to go and lecture to different groups on what they can do on a grass-roots level (to fight global warming)," she said.